Labour’s hope for May election talks about his ideas for local policing in North Devon

People believe there should be more police on the streets of North Devon, according to the man bidding to become the next Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner.

Labour candidate Gareth Derrick was out in Barnstaple and Bideford today (Wednesday) to meet local people and hear their concerns.

The retired Royal Navy commodore from Ivybridge, 57, says if he is successful in winning the PCC election on Thursday, May 5 he will work at bringing police and their communities closer together.

The full list of nominated PCC candidates will be published on Thursday, April 7. Anyone who wishes to vote in the election must ensure they are registered by April 18.

Speaking of his ideas, Mr Derrick said a new approach to policing could include more involvement from other elected local councillors.

Another ambition is to copy successful companies by giving people a written commitment to a certain level of service in local policing.

After speaking to people in Barnstaple High Street, Mr Derrick told the Gazette: "There's a definite feeling there's not enough visible policing around this area - Torrington has been mentioned, and Barnstaple and Bideford. People have also expressed discomfort at walking around their town after dark.

"My overall vision is to bring about a greater connection of policing activities with the community. Clearly I am not going to be able to bring back 'old-fashioned policing' due to the cuts, but I am hoping to bring back a better standard of local policing."

He also said he felt there should be better facilities and a better approach to dealing with people with mental health problems who are taken into custody.

Mr Derrick retired from the navy two-and-a-half years ago, serving as Commodore Maritime Reserves in his final posting. He also served as defence attaché to the British embassy in Tokyo from 2003-2010.

* People can register to vote with their district council at www.northdevon.gov.uk/elections or www.torridge.gov.uk/elections